Wednesday, March 12, 1997
Residents welcome
deluge of funds

BY BEN L. KAUFMAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST UNION, Ohio - Buoyed by bright sun and warm breezes, Adams County residents began applying for aid in rebuilding their lives Tuesday.

They trickled into the fairgrounds, where the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Internal Revenue Service and others offered help.

''They were great,'' Monica Fehr, 20, of Wamsley, said as she left the Red Cross service center with vouchers for food, clothing and toiletries.

Miss Fehr was especially pleased that the application she had begun Friday in Cincinnati was here and it took little additional effort to get the emergency aid she needed.

''Back in May, we had a flood, and it got up in our house and they helped,'' she said.

She and her in-laws-to-be had two trailers on Earl Brown Road, off Scioto Brush Creek, and when the waters receded, there was nothing but scattered debris and piles of junk.

She said they were uninsured and the families were counting on FEMA for grants to buy new mobile homes. If all goes as they hope, however, they will not rebuild where they were.

''It's beautiful country but if I come back out here, it's going to have to be where there's no water around,'' she said.

One of the first people to arrive Tuesday morning was Cathy Henderson, 33, of Manchester. She lost her house and was not sure when the restaurant where she works would reopen. Her immediate concern was applying for a FEMA grant to cover lost wages.

''It was not very much but it was my income,'' she said. ''I spent it on myself and my daughter.''

She said her husband, Doug, 34, supported the family by hanging vinyl siding, and she worked ''to keep a housewife from going crazy staying at home.''

By late afternoon, the Hendersons were among more than 40 people who had come to the government agencies, and 24 had asked the Red Cross for help.

In both places, veteran relief workers said, the numbers would grow as word got out that they were at the fairgrounds and offering aid. A problem, however, is transportation. Neither FEMA nor the Red Cross knew of a shuttle service from Manchester or other communities to West Union.

Wayne Price, a counselor at the Shawnee Mental Health Center, said that he expected more requests for help with waters receding and people beginning to appreciate ''the reality of the flood.''

He acknowledged that the self-reliance that characterizes people in this area would make some hesitant to seek counseling, but it is imperative that they address the normal depression and children's anxiety that follow a disaster.

''They try to do it on their own, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help,'' he said. ''I still feel they will come out. They are a very proud people and they'll use what's there to get back on their feet.''

FLOOD STORIES
FLOOD PHOTOS

FEMA centers open

The federal and Ohio emergency management agencies have opened six disaster recovery centers to serve flood victims.

Center hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily starting today. The first step in the process is to call (800) 462-9029 to apply for federal and state disaster assistance.

If questions remain after the phone application, victims can visit the nearest recovery center to meet with specialists to get information on federal and state programs. Center locations are:

Hamilton County: Leonard South Shore Senior Center (Reeves Golf Course), 4745 Playfield Lane, East End.

Adams County: Floral Building, Adams County Fairgrounds, Boyd Avenue, West Union.

Brown County: Old Administration Building, off Ohio 125, Georgetown.

Clermont County: New Richmond Community Center, Market and Main streets, New Richmond.

Scioto County: Angel Computing, 1023 Fourth St., Portsmouth.



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Entire contents Copyright (c) 1997 by The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.